16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them. (Luke 2:15-20)
The shepherds were glorifying and praising God because of what they had seen, and the people they told were astonished. So what was wrong with Mary? She has just given birth to the long awaited Messiah, God Himself in human form, yet all she does is ponder or think about these things in her heart. Why the reserved response?
Perhaps she was struck by the awesome weight of responsibility that rested upon her shoulders and was struggling with self doubt? Maybe she was confused as to why this Child should enter the world in such lowly and difficult circumstances? Perhaps she was filled with questions as to what this Messiah would do and what would be his fate?
Whatever the reason we are reminded that the youth leader will often times look at differently from their young people. While they may share in the astonishment and praise at what God is doing, they will also ponder more and look at things more deeply in their hearts than others. Rather than getting caught up solely in the moment they are looking at the bigger picture of where God is leading, all the while coping with their own sense of inadequacy at the task they are called to. Experience is a good thing and it is a starting point for our young people. But the mature believer and the leader will not only praise and glorify God but will also ponder, and in pondering they will develop insight and depth.
Reflection: Think about what is God doing in your ministry – I don’t mean from week to week. What’s He doing long term and why is He doing what He is doing now?